In most cases, even a beginner will tell you a thing or two about conventional ovens. However, not most people understand the differences between a conventional and a toaster oven, and that is why I decided to spend hours of crafting this post that breaks down the differences using the products’ distinct features and specifications.
In addition to that, also note that the oven you pick will have a huge impact on your food preparation process, so read the review keenly and ensure you pick the appliance that will best meet your family’s needs and requirements.
That said, before skipping and looking at the main differences between a toaster oven and a conventional oven, let us start by defining them so we can both be on the same page when we get to the main section of the post.
What is a conventional oven?
A conventional oven has been the main kitchen appliance in the modern era since the 50s, and it operates through a bottom-up heat transfer method, which uses a stable, fixed heat source (which is usually a gas flame or burner element that has been placed inside the oven house.)
Having said that, whether the tool uses electricity or gas, the baking process is usually the same, so the heat will rise and toast your meals from underneath.
Conventional ovens (also known as regular ovens) retail with a broil function, which is a huge plus. Whenever you want to melt cheese, all you need to do is pop the dish several inches below the broiler, then the overhead heat will ensure it is melted enough to an extent, that it is gooey and melty (the same way everyone likes it.)
Some modern regular electric ovens also permit you to use both the top and bottom features at the same time.
Now that you understand what a conventional oven is, let us describe a toaster oven.
What is a toaster oven?
A toaster oven, which usually only runs by electricity, is basically a smaller version of an oven. However, note that toaster ovens are larger compared to regular toasters and can still act as a conventional oven, even though it is way smaller in size.
In addition to that, even though regular toasters and toaster ovens execute a similar toasting function, they’re usually different appliances in a kitchen. So, if you want to toast more than four slices at the same time and would like more features than just toasting, then choosing the best toaster oven will be the best option for you. It retails with other various function as well, including reheating, baking, roasting, and of course toasting. Those should be enough to help you tackle anything your toasting endeavors throw at you.
But if you want to toast four or fewer slices, then you can simply invest in a 4-slice toaster, which is way cheaper compared to toaster ovens.
With the definition of the two products in mind, let us skip to the main section of the post and look at the main differences between the two.
Source of power
As I mentioned in the preceding section of the post, toaster ovens only use electricity, whereas conventional ovens can use both gas and electricity. This is, without a doubt a win for the conventional oven, since in case one is unavailable, you can simply avail the other.
If there is a power outage when you’re using a toaster oven, then you’re out of luck and the only option is to wait for power to come back. If you’re using a conventional oven, on the other hand, you can simply avail the gas option.
This makes the conventional oven a better alternative if you live in a neighborhood that usually experiences a lot of power outages.
Reduced cooking time
Both the conventional oven and toaster oven will need to be preheated before they can start working on your meals. However, due to the conventional oven’s big size, it will take a little bit more time to heat up and toast your meals.
The toaster oven, on the other hand, is small in size, allowing it to heat up faster and ensure less heat loss during the toasting procedure. As expected, this translates to reduced cooking time. Which brings me to the next difference between the two products:
Compared to conventional ovens, toaster ovens are way more efficient when it comes to consuming energy. Remember the toaster oven usually heats up faster and the cooking procedure is usually more even so the meal will be cooked faster.
In a conventional oven, the heat usually is not evenly distributed, which forces you to open the appliance and rotate the food multiple times so it can be cooked as well as it would have if you were using a toaster oven.
And every time you open the door to turn the food, you lose some temperature. And when you couple that with the toasting duration, you find out that the bill that you’ll get if you’re using a conventional oven is usually twice as big compared to the energy bill you would have received if you were using a toaster oven.
And note that this analysis does not consider the fact that some toaster ovens retail with a convection setting: which is a feature that moves hot air around the toaster oven house, resulting in a shorter toasting duration.
If your goal is to save on energy, then the toaster oven is your best bet.
Thanks to its compact size and sometimes convection setting, a toaster oven will usually cook more evenly. For those not accustomed to the term, uneven cooking refers to the scenarios when your food will look cooked on the topside, but when you turn it to look at the bottom, it’s a whole different story.
You can usually solve this nuisance by turning the meal a couple of times during operation, but that does not eliminate the cold and hot spots entirely.
When using a toaster oven though, it’s an entirely different case. You won’t even need to think about the meal. Just place it in, set the timer, and let it cook. You can rest assured everything you put in there will come out evenly toasted.
Size of meals
This will be another win for the conventional oven. If you usually cook for a big family, then you should stick with the conventional oven. The tool can fit in large meals such as turkeys, full-sized chickens, and even large pizzas. The same cannot be said for a toaster oven.
You will also realize that it is impossible to toast a thanksgiving meal using a toaster oven.
Toaster Oven can be bought under $1000. And I am talking about some of the best models out there today. Conventional ovens, on the other hand, can usually cost as high as $4000, thanks to its versatility and big size.
Pick the one that best matches your budget.
There you have it, a detailed review on Toaster ovens vs regular ovens. As I noted at the beginning of the post, the one you ultimately pick will largely depend on your needs, available space in your kitchen, and personal preference. To make your selection process easier, here is a detailed post I created on the best toaster ovens in the market today.